ALL THE ELEMENTS OF A TORNADO
There can be no doubt that the storm was a tornado rather than a
cyclone. The local weather bureau observer, in explaining this point, says:
|"It was at first believed
that the storm was entirely a straight wind rush, without any evidences of the tornadic
whirl. Further investigation late in the afternoon by one of our observers tends to
confirm the opinion of many that the storm in a few circumscribed localities was a genuine
"twister". This appears to have been the fact around Lafayette Park and on
Chouteau avenue between Ninth and Twelfth streets. In these places the debris lay in every
direction, and in the park trees had been torn up by the roots and thrown around in
confusion, indicating the presence of the inward spiral and upward motion which is
characteristic of the true tornado. This also accounts for the presence of the southwest
wind while the general direction during. the storm was from the northwest. In the tornadic
whirl the wind would have an inward rotary motion, and as the center of disturbance
progressed the wind would 'shift accordingly to the different points of the compass. It is
probable that this southwest wind was of greater velocity than that from the northwest,
according to one of the accepted general theories of cyclonic circulation, namely, that
the heaviest wind may be expected in the southwest quadrant of a low area, and the
heaviest rain in the southeast quadrant. No other evidences of the true tornado have thus
far been obtained."
Apart from scientific observation there can be no doubt as to the
tornado motion of the storm. Any man who looked at Lafayette Park on Thursday morning and
then said there was not a rotary motion in the wind that tore down the kings of the
forest, must have been afflicted with a disease that called for the use of a
strabismometer. They fell to the north and to the south and to the east and to the west.
If one had the time and the inclination-and perhaps the mind to figure it out-he could,
while in Lafayette Park, have determined just about the number of times the storm cloud
twisted in going across the inclosure.
But one did not have to go to Lafayette Park for proof that St. Louis
was assailed by a storm with a rotary movement. Almost any cross street in its path
furnished the evidence. On one street trees on the west side. were blown down to the west
and trees on the east side were blown to the east. On the next street east the order was
reversed. There are corners in South St. Louis on which buildings stood that give.
unmistakable evidence of having been struck by wind coming from more than one point of the
compass at the same time.